Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that functions like a steroid hormone in your body. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to a loss of bone density, which can contribute to osteoporosis and fractures (broken bones). Severe vitamin D deficiency can also lead to other diseases.
There are two types of vitamin D: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Vitamin D2 is found in plants and some foods that are fortified foods. Vitamin D3 is made by the skin when it’s exposed to sunlight (UVB rays).
Vitamin D is produced from cholesterol in your skin upon exposure to sunlight. Thus, people who live far from the equator are likely to be deficient unless their dietary intake is adequate or they supplement with vitamin D.
In the United States, about 42% of people may be deficient in this vitamin. This number rises to 74% in older adults and 82% in people with dark skin since their skin produces less vitamin D in response to sunlight. This article tells you about the causes and food requirements of vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency is not usually obvious, as its symptoms are subtle and may develop over years or decades. It travels through your bloodstream and into cells, telling them to turn genes on or off. Almost every cell in your body has a receptor for vitamin D.
Adults who are deficient in vitamin D may experience muscle weakness, bone loss, and an increased risk of fractures. In adults, severe vitamin D deficiency leads to osteoporosis and osteomalacia, which causes weak bones, bone pain, and muscle weakness.
In children, it can cause rickets. Rickets is a rare disease that causes the bones to become soft and bend. African American infants and children are at higher risk of getting rickets.
Vitamin D connects to several medical conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Anyway, there is need to do more research before they can understand the effects of vitamin D on these conditions.
Did you Know?
Vitamin D deficiency may play a role in reduced immune function and an increased risk of cancer.
How Much Amount Of Vitamin D Do You Need?
The amount of vitamin D you need each day depends on your age.
- Birth to 12 months: 400 IU
- Children 1-13 years: 600 IU
- Teens 14-18 years: 600 IU
- Adults 19-70 years: 600 IU
- Adults 71 years and older: 800 IU
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women: 600 IU
People at high risk of vitamin D deficiency may need more. Consult your doctor about how much you need.
Vitamin D deficiency is a condition in which the body does not have enough vitamin D. This can happen when people are not exposed to enough sunlight or they do not consume foods that contain vitamin D.
There are many causes of vitamin D deficiency, including lack of exposure to sunlight, lack of consumption of foods with vitamin D, and certain medical conditions.
Exposure to sunlight: Lack of exposure to sunlight is a major cause of vitamin D deficiency. The main reason for this is the lack of outdoor activities, especially during the winter months. Other reasons include a lack of sunlight in the workplace.
Diet: The main cause of lack of consumption of foods with vitamin D is that people are not aware of the importance of their diet. They think that they will get all the nutrients they need from other food groups and don’t see the need to add more to their diet.
There are many factors which contribute to lack of consumption of foods with vitamin D, but one main factor is that people do not know how important it is for them.
Signs and Symptoms
Vitamin D deficiency is a condition where the body does not have enough vitamin D. It is important for bone health, immune function, and muscle function.
The lack of vitamin D can cause a range of symptoms including:
- Muscle pain and weakness
- Bone pain
- Memory loss
- Headaches and migraines
- Low immunity to infections
- Muscle spasms
- Weight loss
- B12 deficiency
- Reduced bone mineral density
The following are signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency:
- High blood pressure
- Diabetes mellitus type 1 and type 2
- Cancer including breast cancer, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer
- Cardiovascular disease
- Autoimmune diseases
Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. It also helps regulate the immune system, cell growth, and inflammation.
The risk factors of vitamin D deficiency include:
- Limited exposure to sunlight
- Insufficient dietary intake or supplements
- dark skin coloration (e.g., African Americans)
- Age over 50 years old
- Current use of steroids
- Certain medications
- Infants may be at risk for vitamin D deficiency due to a limited exposure to sunlight.
- Breastfeeding is another risk factor for infant vitamin D deficiency because breast milk contains lower levels of vitamin D than formula milk.
The risk factors of vitamin D deficiency can be treated with an oral supplement or by getting more sun exposure.
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which is necessary for strong bones. It also helps regulate cell growth, blood pressure, and immune system function.
The most common treatment for low levels of vitamin D is to take a supplement containing either vitamin D2 or vitamin D3. However, some experts argue that the best way to get enough vitamin D is from natural sources like sunlight or diet. Some people with a severe deficiency may receive treatment through an injection of vitamin D.
Exposure to natural sunlight
Vitamin D deficiency is a major concern for many people. It can have a negative impact on your mood, immune system and bone health. The most common way for people to get vitamin D is through exposure to natural sunlight.
Sun exposure has been shown to be the best way for people to get their vitamin D. This is because it’s the only natural source of vitamin D that we have available. When you are exposed to sunlight, your skin makes vitamin D when it reacts with UVB radiation from the sun.
There are two types of UV radiation: UVA and UVB.
- UVA is mostly responsible for aging skin and increasing your risk of developing skin cancer while
- UVB helps in making vitamin D in our body and also helps protect against skin cancer.
The amount of time that you need to be exposed to sunlight in order to produce enough vitamin D varies depending on how dark your skin tone is, where you live, and the time of year.
If you spend much of your days indoors, especially during the winter months or if you live in a northern part of the world and do not regularly get sufficient amounts of sunlight, (including through UVB rays), then it is important to know how much vitamin D you’re getting at any given time.
Outdoors is best when it comes to providing sufficient vitamin D levels. If you are concerned that your vitamin D levels may be lower than they should be, or you are in an area of the world where sunlight is not readily available, it’s important that you discuss with your doctor what your risk may be.
Vitamin D is essential for the body to function properly. It can be obtained through food sources and exposure to sunlight. However, it is difficult to get enough vitamin D from sun exposure alone.
The best way to increase vitamin D levels is by getting supplements. Supplements come in various forms – capsules, tablets, and liquids. They are also available in different doses – 400 IU or 800 IU per day.
Supplements are often recommended when someone doesn’t get enough of it in their diet or when they don’t spend enough time in the sun on a regular basis.
Foods sources of vitamin D
Here there are few foods that naturally have some vitamin D:
You can also get vitamin D from fortified foods. You can check the food labels to find out whether a food has vitamin D. Foods that often have added vitamin D include
While very few foods contain significant amounts of this vitamin, the best dietary sources are:
- Cod liver oil. A single tablespoon (15 ml) packs 227% of the DV.
- Fatty fish. Salmon, mackerel, sardines, and trout are rich in vitamin D. A small, 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of cooked salmon provides 75% of the DV.
- Egg yolks. One large egg yolk contains 7% of the DV.
Vitamin D is in many multivitamins. There are also vitamin D supplements, both in pills and a liquid for babies. People who are deficient may want to take a supplement or increase their sun exposure. It is hard to get sufficient amounts through diet alone.
If you have vitamin D deficiency, the treatment is with supplements. Check with your health care provider about how much you need to take, how often you need to take it, and how long you need to take it.
Vitamin D deficiency is a common problem that can be found in many people. It can lead to long term health problems such as osteoporosis, heart disease, depression and other mental illnesses.
The prevention and treatment of vitamin D deficiency can be done in many different ways. A few ways to prevent vitamin D deficiency are:
- Spending time in the sun
- Eating foods with high levels of vitamin D
- Taking a vitamin D supplement
Vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone and muscle pain, increased risk of falls and fractures, depression and anxiety. Most people can obtain the vitamin D they need from the diet and exposure to sunlight.
Anyone who is worried about their intake of vitamin D or experiences any of the symptoms of a deficiency should speak to a doctor.
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